Meet Jonny: Our new Youth Ambassador for Dennistoun

Wed 25th April 2018

Jonny Walker is a Glasgow-based artist who works with electronics, sculpture, performance and sound. He has recently joined Impact Arts as our new Youth Ambassador for Our Bright Future environmental artwork in the Dennistoun area. This will involve him engaging with community organisations, local schools and the wider community with the aim of creating public art for the area.

Here, Jonny speaks about his artistic practice, what art is to him and what he hopes to do through working in Dennistoun. More about Jonny’s work can be found here on his website.

Our Bright Future is funded by the Big Lottery Fund to support young people to lead progressive environmental change in their communities. The information and ideas gathered are shared with 30 other Our Bright Future projects across the UK. Find out more here on their website.

What is your role with Impact Arts?

Working alongside the community, I’ll be running a series of workshops with several community groups exploring how we can use technology in a creative setting to bring positive environmental change to the area. I’ll also be coming along to community events and helping out within various groups to collect sound recordings which will become part of an installation.

Dennistoun is an extremely diverse area, cutting across many different ages, religions and cultures. I’m very interested in finding out the perspectives of different groups within the community and, from that, how I can draw a representative picture of the area.

How would you describe your artwork/artistic practice?

Working with electronics, sculpture and sound I build systems of objects which act collectively as a ‘machine’. For example, in my degree show work, A Remedy for Chaos, ink was pumped onto a conveyer belt which was treated with a hydrophobic coating in some areas. This allowed the water to form into shapes on the conveyer belt before being moved along the conveyer belt and onto a metal slide where it formed a large puddle on the floor.

Where has your work been displayed/exhibited?

Since graduating last June, I have had a couple of shows in Dundee and Glasgow as well as one in Rotterdam. I am currently working on new work for a show in Dundee in May.

What do you aim to say with your artwork?

I am interested in how we perceive technology and mechanical processes as something separate from us and outwith our control. Within my work, I explore the relationship between the self and technology through creating illogical, erratic systems. In doing so, I hope to reclaim some of the control massive technological systems have on behaviour, socio-economic systems and the environment.

What would you say is important about community arts? How would you encourage other artists to get involved in such projects?

Contemporary art can sometimes be seen as a bit elusive and separated from everyday life. I think if you talk to most artists however there is a desire for their work to be understood and to be a part of wider society. Most artists I know are super-sensitive to the conversations and events that are happening within their communities, and often their work is a reaction – either direct or indirect – to what is happening now.

For me, getting involved in community work is a great challenge and helps me to think about my work within a different context. Questioning how your work, or ideas from your work, can have a societal impact and influence change is very exciting and challenging!

If you would like Jonny to work with your school or community group or attend any upcoming events in Dennistoun, you can contact him at[email protected].

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